Dear Adoption, You Aren’t Always Right
Growing up, my adoption issues lived mostly in the confines of my own head. I was adopted domestically so most people had no clue my parents, siblings and I didn’t have the same genes. I went to live with my new family when I was less than 2 weeks old. I was born to one woman and left the hospital with a different woman. I always thought that seemed weird since the first woman wasn’t dead.
My mom said I cried a lot when I first came home and that I wouldn’t settle with her when she held me but that she always loved me so much. She said she knew I was hers.
When I was 4 weeks old, my birth mom changed her mind.
She called the adoption agency, the hospital, the social worker and even the police to try and get me back.
She felt pressured to give me up for adoption because she was a single woman with a bright future; one they told her neither she nor I would have if we stayed together. If she wanted good for me she would have to let me go to a new, better mother.
The weeks after my birth were torture for her. It wasn’t as if she were missing a piece of her own body, she was missing a piece of her own body. My birth mother wanted to scream, and cry and crawl out of her own skin because the missing was emotional and physical and more painful than even the physical aspects of my birth.
She did everything she could do. She called incessantly and made pleas and begged and offered to pay money.
But the agency and my parents decided I already belonged to them.
My adoptive parents fought for me. They fought hard against the injustice of someone attempting to take their baby.
Isn’t that strange? They (my parents, the agency and our church) were all appalled a woman would agree to give her child away and then ask them to give her child back a couple weeks later. How could she go back on her word? She promised them her baby and it was outrageous to them that she would change her mind and actually want to keep and raise her baby. They were certain she wouldn’t be as good of a mom as my adoptive mom. They were certain my life would be better in their home. They were certain I wouldn’t be as safe with her or have as many opportunities. They were certain they were right and she was wrong. They were certain I was their baby because they had prayed about it and believed God gave me to them. In their minds more than ever, they were certain she was not fit to be my mother and her changing her mind confirmed that to them.
They were certain about things they had no business being certain of.
My birth mom was denied. Her last pleas was to amend the closed adoption to an open adoption.
They all said no.
I never knew a different life but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it. I had a really good life and upbringing. When I said before that my adoption issues lived in my head I mean I never shared them with anyone. I wondered about my birth mom a lot. I was told she was single, poor and therefore incapable of caring for me. I remember when I was 11 I asked my mom how we got so rich. She was confused. She went on to say we weren’t rich and I didn’t press it further. In my head I was trying to figure out why poor people shouldn’t have children and that also had to mean my parents were rich since it was better for me to be parented by them than by a single, poor mother.
When my story was shared at church, with strangers and among friends, my parents always shared how they fought for me and then the compliments poured out like a flood. My parents are actually really good people and I love them a lot. They didn’t mean to do what they were doing. They had good hearts behind it all but that doesn’t mean it was right. It wasn’t right. Good Christians with good intentions aren’t always doing what’s right. I would like for people reading my letter to understand this. I’m working up the courage to tell my parents and my pastors how I feel about all of this but it’s hard. The guilt comes mostly from how I was told to feel, because what could I possibly have to complain about? I mean, I had parents who fought to keep me and give me a better life. My birth mother fought for me too but for some reason that did not matter as much as the fight of the people who claimed me as theirs even though I actually wasn’t.
When I look back I feel bad for everyone but mostly for my birth mom. She and I met in person for the first time a few weeks ago. I had been holding onto her information for almost a year. I finally reached out to her after reading Stephanie’s post, Dear Adoption, I’m Trying to Unravel the Mess You Made. After we met I found myself having a similar experience to her. My birth mother probably would have been a really good mom. She had less money and moved more often but she would have loved me, known me, understood me and been mine more than any other mother with more money.
And I have to live with knowing my parents fought to keep me from her. I haven’t told them yet. I’m too scared and worried. Being adopted has been great for me and terrible for me but the hard thing is knowing my life could have still been great without adoption. I don’t know what else to say except that adoption isn’t always right.